A trip to Georgia is like a walk through history. This southern state has seen the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, a gold rush, and many other epic events along the way. You could read history books to learn about Georgia’s role in U.S. history. Or instead, why not visit some of the most important historical places for yourself to see them first-hand?
It’s much more meaningful to see the places where battles were fought and legendary figures walked than to simply imagine them from chapters in books. That’s why Georgia is such a great place to visit for history buffs, families with kids, and anyone who wants to truly learn about the places they travel. So, make sure to add these historical sites to your itinerary when you visit Georgia!
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Old Fort Jackson, Savannah
Savannah is one of the most historic cities to visit in the American South, so it’s a wonderful place to start your historical tour of Georgia. Old Fort Jackson is a National Historic Landmark that is the oldest brick fortification in the state that’s still standing. The fort is located along the Savannah River and served to protect the city during the War of 1812. It was also the headquarters for the local defense during the Civil War. It’s fun to join a guided tour here with a guide dressed in traditional period-wear to hear the stories of the soldiers that fought here, then explore one of Savannah’s other top historic sites and museums.
Dahlonega Gold Museum State Historic Site, Dahlonega
Many people think of California when discussing America’s gold rush movement, but Georgia had a gold rush all its own. In fact, the nation’s gold rush began in Georgia and led to the displacement of Native American tribes that called this region home. Today, you can visit the Dahlonega Gold Museum State Historic Site in the former Lumpkin County Courthouse to learn more about this story.
Fort McAllister State Park, Richmond Hill
Head to Richmond Hill to visit Fort McAllister State Park, which has some of the most well-preserved earthworks fortifications from the Civil War. These were fortifications of the Confederacy, and the area is hauntingly beautiful with live oak trees. The site is located on the Ogeechee River south of Savannah and known for its salt marsh surroundings with Spanish moss hanging from the trees. Daily programs are offered on topics like soldier life, wildlife habitats, weaponry, and crafts. But this is also a lovely place to camp, fish, boat, and have a picnic. There are boat ramps and fishing docks here, and the campground is shaded and near Redbird Creek. You’ll find 4.3 miles of hiking trails and kayak, canoe, and SUP rentals here too.
Jefferson Davis Memorial Historic Site, Fitzgerald
Jefferson Davis was the president of the Confederacy and one of the most well-known figures of the American Civil War. In Fitzgerald, visitors can visit the monument and museum in the place where Davis was captured by the Union army in 1865. After being arrested here, Jefferson Davis was held as a prisoner in Virginia for two years before being released. This is a 13-acre historic site that has a museum, small trail, picnic tables, and a gift shop. Nearby attractions include the Flint River Aquarium in Albany, the Blue and Gray Museum, the Crime and Punishment Museum, and General Coffee State Park.
Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site, Cartersville
Native Americans played a very important role in Georgia’s history, and one of the most significant Native American sites is the Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site. This place is in Cartersville today, but it was home to thousands of Native Americans between 1,000 A.D. and 1,550 A.D. There are six earthen mounts on this 54-acre site, as well as a plaza, borrow pits, defensive ditch, and village area. It is worth visiting because it’s the most well-preserved Mississippian cultural site in the southeastern U.S. and features revealing artifacts about how this civilization lived day-to-day. When you visit this site, you can tour the museum to see these exhibits and learn about how the ancient people decorated themselves with tattoos and jewelry.
Pickett's Mill Battlefield Historic Site, Dallas
Another Civil War site that visitors should check out is the Pickett’s Mill Battlefield Historic Site in Dallas. This battlefield was where an 1864 battle took place and where one where the Confederacy won under General Sherman. This is a very well-preserved Civil War battlefield that has a museum, earthworks, and trails to explore.
Roosevelt's Little White House State Historic Site, Warm Springs
Franklin Delano Roosevelt fell in love with Warm Springs, Georgia because of the healing nature of the waters here. Visitors can see the Little White House Historic Site to learn more about the past president and what the town stood for back in the 1930s. Roosevelt built this house while he was the governor of New York before he became president, in search of relief and a cure for his polio. He swam in the 88-degree spring waters, which didn’t cure his disease, but did bring him comfort and health improvements. Top things to see and do here include the Unfinished Portrait, the Walk of Flags and Stone, Memorial Fountain, the guest and servant quarters, and scavenger hunts to learn more about history. To make a weekend out of it, you can also check out the nearby city of Columbus, Callaway Gardens, and the F.D. Roosevelt State Park.
Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation Historic Site, Brunswick
Plantations have played a key role in the American South, and despite their controversial history, it’s still interesting to learn about what life was like during the plantation era. One of the plantations to visit in Georgia is the Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation Historic Site in Brunswick. This used to be a rice plantation near the Altamaha River, shaded by beautiful live oak trees. You can take a tour of this antebellum home to view the antiques and fine silver at the onsite museum. Other plantations worth visiting include the Jarrell Plantation Historic Site in Juliette and the Wormsloe Historic Site in Savannah.
Fort Morris State Historic Site, Midway
Fort Morris is on the Medway River and served to protect troops against British armies in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. You can visit Fort Morris State Historic Site to learn about Sunbury, a colonial port, and enjoy the beauty of nature on the walking trail and in the picnic area. Actors have often dressed up in period-wear and host children’s programs. The site is located in the Georgia town of Midway and typically open from 9 am to 5 pm on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Guided tours are available, and there’s a gift shop on site.
New Echota Historic Site, Calhoun
Another important Native American historical place in the state is the New Echota Historic Site in Calhoun. This town was the capital of the Cherokee tribe in the 1820s and 1830s until the tribe was forcibly removed from their land in 1838. This was part of the Trail of Tears movement that sent tribes westward to make room for new settlers. When you visit this site today, you can see the Supreme Courthouse, Vann’s Tavern, Council House, and a print shop where a newspaper was produced and included the Sequoyah written language. There were many important events that took place in the buildings here, and you can see both original and reconstructed versions of them when you visit today. The visitors center offers a short film, interpretative exhibits, and Native American crafts and music available for purchase.